Attorney General Eliot Spitzer of New York and the state’s Insurance Department filed a civil lawsuit this afternoon against the insurance giant American International Group and its former top executives, accusing them of manipulating the company’s finances to deceive regulators and investors.
The lawsuit, which was filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, said A.I.G.’s former chairman and chief executive, Maurice R. Greenberg, and the former chief financial officer, Howard I. Smith, engaged in numerous fraudulent business transactions that exaggerated the strength of the company’s finance position in an effort to increase A.I.G.’s stock price.
“The irony of this case is that A.I.G. was a well-run and profitable company that didn’t need to cheat,” Mr. Spitzer said in a statement. “And yet, the former top management routinely and persistently resorted to deception and fraud in an apparent effort to improve the company’s financial results.”
Mr. Spitzer’s office said in the statement that the lawsuit attributed the misconduct at A.I.G. directly to Mr. Greenberg. It noted that the suit cited e-mails and other evidence showing that Mr. Greenberg was personally involved in negotiating some improper transactions and that he directed other A.I.G. employees to set up other improper transactions.